Mustard is a member of the cole crop family (which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.). Like the others, they grow best in the cool season. Mustard comes in a variety of beautiful colors (green, red, purple) and textures (smooth, ruffled, lacy) making it very ornamental as well.
When to plant: Transplant or direct seed Feb–Apr, Sept–Oct (maybe August). If seeding for transplants, allow 4 weeks for seedlings to be ready.
- A rapid grower, mustard greens are ready to harvest at 45–50 days.
- Younger leaves are more tender and are ready to eat at 4–5 inches long.
- You can harvest the entire plant or individual leaves. If picking individual leaves, harvest the outer leaves to let the inner leaves continue to develop.
- Seeds will germinate at soil temperatures as low as 40º F.
- Thin plants to 3–4" spacing (thinned plants are excellent for salads).
- Plant every 2 weeks for successive harvesting.
- Plants may bolt (send up a flower stalk) in response to increasing temperatures and day length.
- Mustard Greens, University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
- Mustard Greens, Cornell University
Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*
|Red Giant, OP||Beautiful mustard, both ornamental and tasty. Harvest young leaves for salads or larger leaves to cook. Striking in a border. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.|
|Ruby Streaks, OP||Stunningly beautiful mustard, with feathery, ruby red leaves. Delicious in salads and stir-fries. A perfect ornamental edible. 6–12" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.|
|Spicy Green, Hybrid||New variety from Japan developed for a tangy, hot flavor like wasabi. Pick small for mild, delicate flavor or large for robust, spicy flavor. 8–24" tall. Plant 4–6" or 12–18" apart.|
Other recommended varieties: Florida Broadleaf, Mizuna, Southern Giant Curled
* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.